‘The village is strewn about the sides of a little combe, interlaced by numerous rivulets’. So Nikolaus Pevsner wrote of Loose, just south of Maidstone in Kent. I enjoyed visiting there recently with Hilary Hunt, daughter of Pat Wilson, the late, great campaigner for paths and open spaces.
Loose has its controversy, there has been pressure to make nearby paths into a cycle track, which would suburbanise the area and put other users at risk. This track would bring cyclists hurtling out on the narrow roads in the village where there could be accidents. The whole thing needs better planning.
One footpath has already been changed to a bridleway and subjected to suburbanising treatment, a stretch has been surfaced and stone structures (with flowerbeds) erected, supposedly to prevent motorbikes.
The definitive map here is somewhat confused with dead-end restricted byways and bridleways. We need some historic research to see whether these loose ends have been wrongly recorded and whether there are other unrecorded routes which need claiming.
The parish council owns a lovely expanse of open space with views over the village and church, as well as a small green space up the hill.
It could dedicate these spaces as village greens, to give local people rights of recreation here and to protect the land from development. I shall suggest it to the council.
I couldn’t resist photographing this at the top of the hill.
Hilary and I walked along rural paths through land owned by the Loose Amenities Association, which owns 21 acres around the village.
One path was extremely wet and Hilary has reported this to Kent County Council.
It is lovely that, so close to the hurly-burly of Kent’s many towns, there should be this historic haven of peace.